Inspiration from the CMG team
We recently asked members of our team what inspires them and why. Here are some thoughts from our team members about what gets us excited, keeps us refreshed, and makes us passionate about what we do:
When I need inspiration, I turn to a few different sources. One handy desk reference is McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms. When you are trying to convey an idea, it’s great to draw on an idiom or cliche – for example, when you are explaining that something is easy, it’s “a piece of cake” or “easy as pie.” Giving people visuals that connect to ideas and phrases can help get your point across.
I’m also enjoying David Axelrod’s new podcast “The Axe Files” from the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago. Axelrod has interviewed a variety of guests in public life including Mitt Romney, British strategist Alistair Campbell, and Captain Mark Kelly.
Ryan, President and Chief Analytics Officer
Our firm brings together data, technology, storytelling, and compelling design. Making the complex simple for clients is not always easy. While, I certainly read lots of emails, blogs, and social posts, I find inspiration from a few great, insightful books.
The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It, how to Deliver it by Richard Dowis – We do a lot of writing at CMG. This book helps me hone my style, think creatively, and pull of great speeches and great writing practices.
The Why Axis by John A. List and Uri Gneezy – This book is just a few years old, and was written by behavioral economists. We use the ideas and tactics for testing, and we go back again and again to their chapters on direct mail fundraising.
Believer: My 40 Years in Politics by David Axelrod – This book was written by former Chief Strategist and Senior Adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod. His stories, idealism, and writing help jar creativity and motivate me to work just that much harder.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – Providing exceptional service and work product for clients is above a lot of things, but high on the list are systems and habits. At CMG, we try to use healthy, productive systems to get work done quickly and correctly. This book helped provide me with a roadmap for both personal and organizational growth. I refer back to it again and again.
Elizabeth, Director of Digital Strategy
buddhify: I love this great meditation app that has guided readings for just about anything you’re doing – they even have meditations for when you are sitting at your desk on your computer! When you’re juggling a lot of different clients, projects, and priorities, it’s important to take 5-10 minutes to get centered be present in the moment.
LinkedIn: A lot of people wonder who the heck actually uses LinkedIn. I do! Whenever I have a spare moment or need some inspiration, I scroll through my LinkedIn newsfeed and flip over to the Pulse page to read up on the tools and tactics leaders are using from a variety of industries. If I have a question or need advice, I reach out to folks in Groups that I belong to. LinkedIn is also a valuable tool to keep up with my professional network – I try to utilizing the “Ways to Keep In Touch” feature at least once a week and send appropriate follow up messages.
Kalli, Creative Director
My favorite and most frequented source of inspiration is my Bloglovin’ feed. I follow a wide variety of blogs, but one of my favorites for business, blogging, and design inspiration is the Elle & Company blog. They often share insightful behind-the-scenes posts, like this one on their 2-week design process, that I really enjoy.
Another favorite is writer Alexandra Franzen. Her articles are funny, real, and I’ve always admired her matter-of-fact writing style. I especially love her articles Today is Not Over Yet and 27 ways to be an (even) better person.
Lastly, I love keeping up with Dear Design Student. It’s my go-to whenever I’m looking for a dose of design-related realness. I especially enjoyed Why my clients can’t make decisions, and while we’re on the topic of inspiration, Stop Looking for the inspiration fairy is also a good one to check out.
Lauren, Communication Specialist
Levo provides career advice for young professionals, as well as lifestyle articles. The site encourages millennials to find a career path that creates change and connects with their passions. It’s great to overcome a mid-week slump or inspire a goal setting session.
Amy, Communication Intern
When I first started blogging, I followed similar companies to ours on Twitter, including Hootsuite, Buffer, and Moz. I still skim their blogs for inspiration when I’m in a rut. Their outside-of-the-box approaches and unique company voices inspire me to bring my own perspective to my writing.
Another thing that helps to refresh me in the middle of a workday is to get outside and get some exercise. During my lunch break, I’ll go out for a walk (or a run, if I’m working from home). The change of scenery, fresh air, and exercise gets me refreshed and clears my head before I go back in to tackle the rest of the day.
Brianna, Political Writing Intern
“405” – This Wild Life: The song resonates with me because it’s about moving forward even out a plan. Also it’s catchy without being distracting so I can bounce along to the tune and keep working.
My family: My family has always been incredibly supportive and inspired me to work my hardest.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is my favorite book of all time. The different characters give a lot of inspiration on how to handle life’s variety of challenges, often times with humor. The strength of the characters has always inspired me.
Alex, Graphic Design Intern
One place I get a lot of inspiration from is Instagram. It’s a great platform for all kinds of artists and designers to share their work. I personally follow typographers, graphic designers, and all kinds of creative accounts.
Another place I get inspiration from is my travels. I’ve been to several places in Europe, many states in the U.S. and the Philippines. It’s always interesting and exciting when you get inspired by different architecture, culture, and food.
That’s it for us. What inspires you? We’d love to hear about it! Email us at email@example.com and tell us what keeps you motivated at work!
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